Whether driven by Moore's Law or consumer demands, the performance level needed in televisions (TV) today can seem overwhelming. High definition (HD) formats, with 1,080 pixels, driving six-times the amount of data as standard definition (SD) TV formats, managing DTV, Internet protocol (IPTV) and video conferencing broadcasts, as well as processing Dolby AC-3, MPEG and other audio formats have quickly become "must haves" for digital televisions (DTV).
On top of the technical requirements regarding audio, video and input signal formats, there are several viewing options to from which to select: front projection, rear projection, DLP, LCD, plasma, and CRT. Whether watching TV on a one-inch display built into your watch, or using a projection system display using the whole wall, the combinations of size and performance are almost endless.
Even though every TV on the shelf today may seem very different when you look at size, shape, form factor and the basic description that the salesperson just gave you, when you look inside the TV the basic building blocks are very similar.
In general, a DTV can be broken down into less than 10 major blocks; the display (and driver), core media engine, audio decoding and processing, video decoding and processing, tuner, interface block and power supply. The absolute performance demand on each block is defined by the performance level you experience from the comfort of your favorite chair.
Figure 1: Typical DTV System Block Diagram
In Figure 1, we show a basic block diagram for an HDTV that we have taken to the functional block level. Many of the tools needed to develop what happens behind the screen can be acquired from a variety of companies. However, ensuring compatibility while speeding up the design cycle for faster time-to-market can become an issue when trying to tie together solutions from several component vendors. Whether tapping into DLP' technology, DSP-based digital media processors, other core processing solutions, or some other high performance analog components, a high level of integration, flexibility and ease of use are needed for the rapidly evolving DTV market place. Leveraging high-performance audio-video CODECs, graphics acceleration, communications and support are essential for convergent applications designed into and around the home entertainment experience.